As a parent, I totally get the reservations you may have when it comes to enrolling your teen in an online driver’s education course. There are so many to choose from, it’s not as hands-on as a classroom would be, so it’s completely understandable that you would be hesitant about the good it could do for your child’s driving education.
That’s why I’m here; to lay out the pros (and cons) of online driver’s ed classes so you can decide for yourself what’s best for your child. You’re the parent, after all – mother and/or father knows best.
I’ll go ahead and cover the part of online driver’s ed that’s probably at the front of your mind – whether or not it will provide your teen with a proper education as far as their driving career goes.
I get it; though the internet is vast and wondrous, in-class driver’s ed is so ingrained in the way of the world that it’s difficult to accept that anything could be better.
Online driver’s ed, however, provides the exact same criteria and opportunities as a classroom taught driving class would.
The only difference is that, once it comes time to handle the physical driving portion, you will most likely be the instructor. Now, it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t the only option available, especially for those of you who might be worried about their own teaching skills.
Don’t worry! Many online classes available allow you to schedule with an actual driving instructor to teach them if you’d rather not, and there’s on in Texas that even has a parent course for those who would like to be the instructor themselves!
Personally, I would much rather be my teen’s instructor. Not only do you get to be in the vehicle with them (rather than worrying about them being on the road with a stranger), but you also get to teach them the little tidbits you’ve picked up driving yourself, and those are always helpful. Now, on to the other pros and cons; we’ll start with the cons first.
Cons Of Online Driver’s Ed
First of all, online driver’s ed isn’t quite as hands-on as we mentioned previously. If your child learns better in a classroom setting with his or her peers and is better off doing all the little practice moves that are available in a classroom (when I was in driver’s ed in school, for example, we learned how to properly back up using a golf cart and cones). However, with online driver’s ed you can still make time to take them out to practice these things as they go over them in the course, so it’s really not a huge con!
Second, it can be a little boring. Not that classroom taught driver’s ed isn’t boring, but with online driver’s ed they are responsible for covering all of the material themselves, and for some that may make it a little difficult to concentrate. Alternatively, in a classroom, you have the teacher or driving instructor going over the material with you – reading it aloud for the students to follow, doing workbooks for the material, that kind of thing.
Third, there’s less one-on-one discussion time with an instructor and their peers, so they won’t get to hear answers to questions they may not have thought of before explained. Though online driver’s ed is incredibly thorough and has its own method of teaching with quizzes at the end of each section, for some students, one-on-one conversation and discussion time helps them better understand.
Pros Of Online Driver’s Ed
First of all, online driver’s education classes come with a huge weight off your shoulders, due to the convenience it presents to both you and the student. Let’s face it, our lives are busy, and sometimes you just don’t have time to drive your child to a classroom all the time and wait for them to get out of class to pick them up. Sure, some schools offer driver’s ed courses, but as someone who attended an in-school driving class, it honestly wasn’t great. With online classes, the student takes the course at home, on their own time, and completes the course as they feel comfortable. And, of course, they have you and the internet if they ever have any questions.
Second, because they have the convenience of taking the class on their own schedule, they also have the luxury of learning the material at their own pace. In a classroom, there’s a lot of pressure to keep up with the rest of the class, and if you fall behind, it can be difficult for the teacher to catch you back up. With online driver’s ed, they can cover the material as many times as they need to be familiar with it, take the quiz, and then move on when they’re ready. They’ll of course have you there to motivate them, as well as the excitement of getting to go get their license and drive, so that’ll help them stay on track. Some students just learn better independently, and this is where I wish I’d had an online driver’s ed course to choose.
The third pro is the fact that it’s in an environment free from distraction. Other students can be loud, obnoxious, and completely take away the learning experience from your teen if they don’t take it seriously, and that can keep your student from getting a good driver’s education. Online, they can put in headphones and go into a room where they’re isolated and comfortable to go through the course, and that can really do wonders for them.
The fourth and final pro is that it’s state-approved and extremely thorough. Online driver’s ed courses cover the basic material like road signs and the rules of the road, but most also cover the general functions of the vehicle, proper road etiquette, driving in inclement weather conditions, and so much more, and will ensure that your student is as prepared as possible before they even get behind the wheel. Personally, I’d much rather drive on a road with someone who’s fully prepared and confident in their abilities, than someone who was stuck in a classroom with hooligans distracting them all day, and online driver’s ed provides the former almost perfectly.